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VDOT Suspends Most Lane Closures for Holiday Travel

by Katie Pyzyk December 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm 2,579 11 Comments

In order to make your holiday traveling easier, the Virginia Department of Transportation is suspending most lane closures during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Here’s what VDOT said in a release:

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is clearing a path for travelers this holiday season by lifting lane closures over the extended Christmas and New Year’s weekends.

VDOT will suspend lane closures from noon Friday, Dec. 23, to noon Tuesday, Dec. 27, and again from noon Friday, Dec. 30, to noon Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.

“We want everyone to arrive safely at their destinations during the year-end holidays,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “We are opening lanes where appropriate to increase lane capacity on our interstates and other major roads. I encourage motorists to do their part to keep one another safe by obeying all traffic laws, staying alert and engaged behind the wheel, and being courteous to your fellow motorists.”

While temporary work zones are lifted during the holiday period, VDOT is always prepared to mobilize in case of inclement weather. VDOT will monitor weather forecasts for any snow or ice that could affect travel over the holidays. Its offices and snow-removal equipment will be fully staffed in the event of any accumulation.

In addition, the Northern Virginia High Occupancy Vehicle Lane schedule is as follows:


The I-95/395 reversible lanes will be open to all traffic:

  • Southbound from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 until 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
  • Northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27 when HOV-3 takes effect
  • HOV restrictions on I-95, 395 and 66 are lifted on Monday, Dec. 26

New Year’s:

The I-95/395 reversible lanes will be open to all traffic:

  • Southbound from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30 until 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31
  • Northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, when HOV-3 takes effect
  • HOV restrictions on I-95, 395 and 66 are lifted on Monday, Jan. 2

  • OX4

    Correction: only Christians will be able to use these lanes.

  • John Andre

    Sure wish Metro would suspend elective track work over the holidays. Fat chance!!!

  • Never_Checks_Responses

    Soooo….suspending lane restrictions such as HOV can accomodate higher traffic flows, huh? That right there is the case for abolishing them completely.

    • GrandArch

      Dynamic vs. static effects. If you leave them open all the time to everyone, you get people taking into account less traffic and drive time and you end up getting more cars and more traffic on those routes. Study after study shows that increasing the number of lanes only leads to no reduction in traffic. If you leave them open to only HOVs, you create incentives for people to switch to carpooling (though presumably you get some carpoolers who wouldn’t drive who end up carpooling). Here, I think VDOT says its so temporary that people won’t change their long-term driving habits or where they live based on this opening of HOV lanes.

  • GrandArch

    By the way, I would have thought more cars from NOVA go north rather than south for the holidays. Has VDOT said anything? Perhaps this is an apt poll for ArlNow. I’m curious how many people are “originally from” more northern parts versus the South (vs. from here).

    • I don’t know. I would guess it is about equal. I do know I’ve seen a number of times massive backups going south on I95 with light traffic going north, only to see the HOV lanes headed north also with light traffic.

    • Not a bad idea….

    • CourthouseChris

      Given a random chance between north/south weighted commensurate with their population size, far greater people would be traveling north. The north has Philly, Jersey, New York, Boston… to the south there is… a bunch of Waffle Houses?

      • Lou

        More people who go north take the train. Amtrak service is weighted heavily to the NE corridor, with DC being the southern end of that service corridor.

      • ArlingtonChick

        I always thought they chose the direction away from the city at the beginning of the holiday, then toward the city at the end of the holiday, to signify the massive exodus of the area for the holidays. But I’m sure I just put more thought into it than VDOT.

        • Lou

          And then there’s always that.


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